shown in other instead.
NormalMapper is versatile and fast tool to generate a bunch of height-based textures in one run:
- A high quality Normal map. To increase the accuracy and flexibility of generation, control the direction of ray tracing using a cage mesh.
- Parallax map
- Height map for tessellation
- Additional Surface texture to aid artists in selecting and painting separate surfaces
The main advantage over a heightmap-based normal map generator, which usually uses a diffuse texture, is a compensation of distortion of normals. The compensation is done in such a way that the resulting normals, after they are applied, will be the same as for the high-poly model. This can never be achieved with 2D normal map generators.
To create a normal map together with a parallax map, a height map and/or a surfaces texture, do the following:
- Load a low-poly mesh by clicking Load low.
- Load a high-poly mesh by clicking Load high.
- Set normal mapping options on the right pane of the ResourceEditor window.
- If besides a normal map other textures should be generated, check Parallax, Height and/or Surface options.
- For baking parallax and height maps for one mesh:
- Set the Level to 0 to bake real maximum height displacement.
- Set the Clamp to 0 not to clamp any heights.
- Click Run to start generation.
- Switch to the Normalmap mode to check the generated normal map.
- Click Save to save all checked textures.
NormalMapper has two viewing panes. The display mode can be switched in the the drop-down list in the upper left corner of each pane.
|Load low||Load a low-poly mesh for which a normal map will be baked. The hot key is CTRL + O.
|Load high||Load a high-poly mesh basing on which a normal map will be baked. The hot key is CTRL + H.
|Load cage||Load a cage mesh. It is mesh that allows cleaner baking of the normal map. The hot key is CTRL + C.
Without a cage, the rays are cast from the low-poly mesh to the high-poly one (in both directions along the normals of a low-poly). It is done to determine what point of a high-poly mesh (full geometry of which allows to calculate per-vertex normals) corresponds to a low-poly mesh point. Whatever point is intersected first, it gets to be baked into the map. However, if there are complex geometry details in the high-poly model or overlapping surfaces, the first met point may not be a proper one. Instead of baking an outer surface, an underneath one that is closest to the low-poly mesh will be baked into a map.
A cage allows to avoid such situations. When loaded, the rays are traced from it rather then from a low-poly mesh.
Without a Cage, rays are traced from a Low-poly mesh. With a Cage, rays are traced from it.
Let's take an example as illustrated above (in section): we have a low-poly mesh (a simple plane) and a high-poly mesh, which has details above its surface. We can also load a cage that is above both a low- and a high-poly mesh.
|Normalmap||Load an additional normal map. The generated normal map will be combined together with the loaded one. This option allows to create bumping very easily. Additional normal map is displayed in the High mesh mode, i.e. applied to a high-poly model. The hot key for loading is CTRL + N.
Additional normal map
|Reload all||Reload all loaded resources: meshes and an additional normal map, if any. The hot key is CTRL + R.|
|Info||Display information about the mesh that is currently in the viewport. Such data is shown as the number of surfaces, vertices and triangles. After Run was once clicked, the real maximum displacement between a low-poly and a high-poly mesh is displayed. The hot key is I.|
|Compass||Toggle an XYZ compass in the upper right corner of the viewport. The hot key is C.|
|Triangles||Toggles showing a base grid plane. The hot key is T.|
Normal Mapping Options
|Seams||Optimization for UV seams (recommended for tessellation height maps). This option averages the color of corresponding pixels on each side of the seam. Only one-pixel border is affected.|
|Use 16bit||Create a normal map with a 16-bit precision. It be of better quality, but larger in size. If unchecked, a map with 8-bit precision will be created.|
|Parallax||Create a parallax map (with _p postfix in the name). The parallax displacement is calculated basing on the high-poly model.
White color represents no parallax displacement; black represents maximum lowering for pixels (according to the set Level).
Generated tessellation height map
|Height||Create a height map for tessellation (with _h postfix in the name). The height displacement is calculated basing on the high-poly model.
Black color represents no tessellation displacement; white represents maximum elevation for vertices (according to the set Level).
Generated tessellation height map
|Surface||Create a texture with randomly colored surfaces (with _s postfix in the name). This texture is not used inside the Unigine engine, it is for artists only. It can be used to conveniently select the contour of a separate surface in 2D graphics editors.
Generated surfaces texture
|Size||Size of the generated textures.|
|AA||Anti-aliasing mode for the output normal map. If used, consumes additional memory.
The higher the value, the softer and more blurred the normal map will be.
|Level and Clamp parameters allow to control how the calculated displacement values are baked into the textures. These options are in effect for both a parallax and a height map.
Level and Clamp
Level. NormalMapper automatically normalizes the displacement range from 0 to 1 (255 gradations for 8-bit texture). What height in units will be equal to the maximum 1, is controlled by the Level parameter. All heights above it are cut out and not baked into the texture.
For example, if a height map should be created basing on this high-poly and low-poly meshes:
Changing the level will bring the following. Note that the zero level at the middle did not change, only the peaks are baked differently:
Clamp parameter allows to cut off displacement values that are above the specified line within a set Level range. (See illustration above).
|Extrude||Extrusion in pixels for all generated textures. This option adds colored pixels around the contour of each UV shell. The color value is simply copied from the nearby pixel. It allows to get rid of possible darkening where seams meet.
|Run||Create textures: a normal map and all the others for which options are checked (parallax map, height map and a surfaces texture). The normal map applied to the low-poly mesh can be seen in the Normalmap mode.|
|Save||Save created textures (the hot key is CTRL + S). Specify the name of the normal map with a postfix _n at the end and all other textures (with options checked) will be named accordingly:
format as a normal map is saved into.
A saved normal map can either saved as a three-component (RGB) texture or a two-component (RG) texture if the Two component option is checked. Two-component map is not for further editing: it is intended to be loaded and used in the engine as it was saved. Two-component maps also cannot be stored in jpg format.
Supported File Formats
Supported formats of geometry/animation data:
- Unigine mesh (MESH)
- 3ds Max (3DS)
- LightWave Objects (LWO)
- Wavefront (OBJ)
- ASCII Scene Export (ASE)
- COLLADA (DAE)
- Quake 3 level mesh (BSP)
- Doom 3 level mesh (MAP)
Supported formats of textures:
- Targa (TGA)
- Portable Network Graphics (PNG)
- JPEG (JPG)
- Photoshop Document (PSD)
- Direct Draw Surface (DDS)
- CTRL + O — load a low-poly mesh.
- CTRL + H — load a high-poly mesh.
- CTRL + C — load a cage mesh.
- CTRL + N — load an additional normal map.
- CTRL + R — reload all resources.
- CTRL + S — save the generated normal map and other textures, if checked.
- I — toggle info.
- C — toggle a compass.
- T — toggle a base grid.
- G — reset pivot from the mesh to the camera.